May 10, 2011 09:00 AM

Alexandra Wyman/Getty

Life has changed for Eric Dane since welcoming daughter Billie Beatrice last year — and, as a result, so has the actor’s love for wife Rebecca Gayheart.

“I don’t know if there’s any change more significant that a human being can make than that of a woman becoming a mother. There’s no change more dramatic,” the Grey’s Anatomy star, 38, tells PEOPLE during the opening of IWC‘s A Night in Portofino.

“You know, I’m a hundred times more attracted to her now and I love her exponentially more than I did before. It’s just great to see her be a mother.”

And while the couple “have a little bit of help,” Dane reveals Gayheart happily takes on the responsibilities of motherhood.

“Rebecca is really hands-on,” he says. “There’s not a lot that goes on that she’s not a part of.”

But Gayheart isn’t the only one who loves spending quality time with Billie. Dane — who admits the “unconditional love” he receives from the 14-month-old who “doesn’t know any better” is the best part of fatherhood — enjoys spending afternoon father-daughter dates at the park.

“I like watching her laugh,” he shares. “Seeing this kid laugh when you put her on the swing, or slide down the slide with her, it’s just … She owns me.”

Billie has even won the hearts of the family’s beloved brood of dogs — in particular Nellie the chihuahua.

“The second we brought Billie home she elected herself the Buckingham Palace guard,” he laughs. “When Rebecca was feeding Billie, she would sit under Rebecca’s feet. Any time anyone got near Billie, even if it was me, the dog would just start barking.”

Set to spend their summer moving into their brand new home a few miles down the road, there is nothing Dane is quite looking forward to like enjoying his days off poolside with his family.

“I just want to teach my daughter how to swim and sit by the pool and gear up for next season,” he explains.

— Anya Leon with reporting by Vanessa J. Diaz

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